Centre brings ordinance to end violence against health workers, IMA calls off protest

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Photo Credit: ANI

The Central  government has brought in an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act making attacks on doctors, paramedic staff and ASHA workers a non-bailable offence  punishable up to seven years in prison and fine of up to Rs 5 lakhs.

The police will investigate the case in one month and the case will be fast tracked with the final judgement to come within a year.

Those found to be vandalising the private clinic or a car belonging to a doctor will be asked to pay twice the market value of these assets.

The ordinance which comes amid reports of multiple attacks on healthcare personnel across the country during Covid-19 pandemic,  especially during cremation of Dr. Simon in Chennai.

In the case of damage to vehicles or clinics of the healthcare personnel, compensation of twice the market value will be levied from the attackers.

Senior IMA leader & former National President Dr. Ravi Wankedkar said 

Grateful to Government of India for promised prompt action in promulgation of ordinance for protection of doctors and healthcare workers. It will boost the morale of all and we will work with more strength

During a press briefing I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said that no incident of violence against doctors would be tolerated and and amendment to this tune is being made to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

This news comes after Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday  held an interaction with doctors and particularly with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) leading the IMA to withdraw it's proposed White Alert and Black Day program  scheduled against the assaults on 22 and 23 April.

IMA National President Dr. Rajan Sharma and Secretary Dr RV Asokan very forcefully and aptly voiced the anguish, anger and concerns of the medical community earlier in the morning during the meeting with Home Minister and Health Minister.

Sending a strong message against the attackers, Shah added that safety and dignity of doctors at their work place is "non-negotiable".

Home minister Amit Shah and health minister Harsh Vardhan held a meeting with the IMA representatives today and assured them that attacks on doctors and paramedic staff will not be tolerated. They lauded their efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The IMA had threatened that it will observe April 23 as Black Day if the government doesn't take action on protecting doctors through a central law. The proposed protests were called off after today's meeting in the morning.


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